Spending A Year Abroad: Do I Still Need Insurance For My Car Back Home?

If you are planning to travel abroad for a year and leave your car stored in the USA, you may be wondering if you need to carry auto insurance for the period of time during which the vehicle is not in use. The answer will depend on the circumstances, as well as where you live.

State Law Auto Insurance Requirements

Although laws vary from state to state, generally all registered vehicles are required to carry the legal minimum of insurance. In other words, in most states, if your car is registered and the registration has not expired, you are required to carry minimum auto insurance as specified in the laws of the state where you reside. If you are going abroad for a year and want to avoid paying auto insurance during that time, you will need to cancel your vehicle registration.

Comp Only Car Insurance

Some insurance companies will allow you to reduce your insurance costs temporarily while you are not driving a vehicle. For example, you may be able to purchase comprehensive only insurance for the period of time during which your car is in storage. Comp only coverage protects your vehicle from:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Weather damage

This type of insurance is a popular option for vehicles in storage that will not be driven for an extended period of time. It may be significantly less costly than full auto insurance coverage. However, it is important to note that comp only insurance does not make your vehicle legal to drive – it does not provide collision protection or liability coverage.

How Your Vehicle Is Stored Matters

Storage requirements for comp only policies are carefully defined. You will not be able to obtain this type of coverage if your car is left outdoors all winter in the snow and ice. Most insurance companies will require you to keep your vehicle in a secure storage location such as a locked garage or vehicle storage facility. The more secure your car storage is, the lower your insurance rates are likely to be.

What If Someone Else Will Be Driving Your Car While You Are Abroad?

If you plan to allow someone else the use of your vehicle while you are abroad, you can still purchase car insurance under your name, excluding yourself as a driver while you are out of the country. Your insurance company will want to know who the primary driver will be while you are away and will probably require that a licensed driver, such as a family member, is listed on your policy. Most likely, the insurance company will want background, including driver history and personal information, for that licensed driver.

Get Help from an Experienced Agent

If you are planning an extended trip abroad, you have a great deal to do to prepare for your journey. Let our knowledgeable agency help you with any adjustments to your auto insurance coverage that you may need in advance of your trip.